WHEN local authorities across the country declared Climate Emergencies, most around three years ago, they acknowledged the need to act, with urgency, on the causes and impacts of climate change.

In order to tackle the causes of climate change and biodiversity loss, we need to not only cut our dependency on fossil fuels (which the upcoming Just Stop Oil campaign seeks to achieve), but also dramatically reduce our reliance on meat and dairy products as food sources.

An Oxford University study in 2018 concluded that the ‘single biggest way’ to reduce our impact on the planet is to adopt a plant-based diet.

Last summer’s National Food Strategy, led by Henry Dimbleby, concluded that in order to limit our impact on the climate and help future food security, we must reduce our consumption of meat by 30% within 10 years.

The science on this is unequivocal. We’ve had the reports and the recommendations, what we’re lacking is leadership or a plan to make this happen.

Fortunately, some local authorities have chosen to ensure that their actions inside the council do not contribute to the problem of climate change. Oxfordshire County Council recently approved a policy to serve only locally sourced, plant-based food within council meetings and events, and to introduce more plant-based options onto school menus. Lewisham Council did the same two years ago.

Hythe and Faversham town councils have also made plant-based commitments.

Somerset County Council and Somerset West and Taunton Council have both been recognised (by Climate Emergency UK) as local authorities taking a lead on climate change.

It would be encouraging to see Somerset Councils continue to show this leadership by making a commitment that any food served within council will be plant-based - surely this is the natural next step after declaring a climate emergency.

As Ian Middleton, the Oxfordshire councillor who proposed their plant-based motion, said: “This is what climate change action looks like.”